There was some early hesitation before Winx won her 15th consecutive victory when taking her second consecutive $600,000, Group 1 WFA TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday. that she would run due to the downgrading of the track, but not a moment’s hesitation when she ran and defeated the field with contemptuous ease.
The Chris Waller trained champion mare dealt to the field with ease with jockey Hugh Bowman riding hands and heels for the duration of the trip.
Settled in seventh by Bowman, as the three-year-old filly Lasqueti Spirit and Jay Ford used their 6kg weight difference to advantage to lead on the Heavy 9 track, further downgraded to a Heavy 10 immediately after the race, the mare had an easy time as they headed across the High Street straight.
Endless Drama (IRE) and Tye Angland followed with the Godolphin pair of Magic Hurricane (IRE) and Christian Reith and Hartnell (GB) and Brenton Avdulla following.
Passing the 600m Bowman, three off the rails with Winx, adjusted his goggles and then let Winx stride out. The impact was immediate with the rest of the field either not coping with the track or not able to step up another gear to remain with the mare.
They cornered four wide and up and over the hill catching Endless Drama and Lasqueti Spirit, in the rails, at the 300m and then it was onwards with Bowman not extending Winx as they went for the finish.
At the line Winx was 2L ahead of a brave Lasqueti Spirit (Beneteau) who had fought off the rest for second, and Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (Yamanin Vital) and Tim Clark coming through for third, the margin 1L
Magic Hurricane was fourth, Tavago (NZ) fifth and Endless Drama sixth. Hartnell was eighth, 9L from Winx.
Winx and Hugh Bowman head off to the line, picture Sportpix.com.au
“It is good to have confidence in the track. When I went and walked it, to me it looked pretty good,” said Waller.
“I knew the track was safe, which was the most important thing. There is a bit of expectation with this horse to run her. I did not want to see tomorrow’s newspaper if I did not run her.
“I was so close to scratching her, but we made the right decision.
“I am so proud of her. She is a beautiful mare.”
“She canot do much more than what she is doing. She is getting the respect she deserves and you can’t ask for much more than that. She is pretty amazing. So many people are enjoying her racing. She has a great group of owners who have done nothing but support her every day through her career,” he said.
“Nothing really changed. Conditions are fair,” said Bowman.
“Today the conditions were fair and even, sure it is wet but everyone is getting their chance and it is just a case of whether your horse can cope with the surface or not. Clearly this mare can.
“Chris asked me what I thought early in the day and I said she would be fine. Chris monitored conditions as the day went on, at the end of the day it is his decision and I would prefer not to interfere.
“She would be more comfortable if the surface was not as wet as it is. Over the final stages when we had the race won and I stopped pushing her she really idled down which is not really in her make up.
“She got the job done but she is most effective on good ground," he said.
The time was 1.40.37 with the final 600m in 37.52. Winx paid $1.22 on fixed odds and $1.20 on the tote and she landed significant wagers such as the $56,000 @ $1.10.
Winx, by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar mare Vegas Showgirl, now heads to the $1m, Group 1 WFA George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on the Golden Slipper meeting on March 18th.
Her record of 19 wins and three seconds from 25 starts has now taken her stakes to $9,841,925 for owners Debbie Kapitis, Richard Treweeke and Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing.
Cruise control, picture Sportpix.com.au
What the beaten jockey’s said:
Brenton Avdulla (Hartnell): “I travelled three deep just outside them. Comfortable enough. He didn’t find.”
Josh Parr (Preferment): “He hated the ground. Incredible for such a classy horse to go so poorly on wet ground.”
Jason Collett (Grand Marshal): “Lost momentum round the bend then battled on after that. Little bit disappointing.”
Tim Clark (Who Shot Thebarman): “Great first up run. Obviously got conditions to suit but went terrific.”
Glyn Schofield (Libran): “I thought the last 100m of his race was really strong. He got a nice spot. Wasn’t quite at home on the slushy ground but it was strong late.”
Christian Reith (Magic Hurricane): “Went super. Big improvement on first up.”
Tommy Berry (Tavago): “He went super. He got stopped in his tracks about the 600m but he really flashed home well so he’s on target for a Sydney Cup and we’re very happy with him.”
Tye Angland (Endless Drama): “He went okay. Jumped, travelled really good, towed me into it but on this track, no turn of foot where the other day he showed some sort.”
Jay Ford (Lasqueti Spirit): “Super. Today she was able to get to the front eventually and once she did she travelled well. In these conditions she’s a good tough filly and she’s well on track.”
Chipping Norton Stakes, photo finish picture ATC